There are many times when I feel as though I’m in the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, except I’m the snail. Oh yes, the snail. You see, the snail is so small and insignificant that no one notices it. If someone did notice the snail, it would be moving so slowly that it would be impossible to determine whether or not the snail was actually participating in the race.
I don’t really care that I’m the snail. I know that people around me might wonder what the heck I’m doing and they don’t see progress. Progress might be so slow that they don’t notice, but there are all kinds of changes happening where it counts…internally.
Whenever you attempt an unusual task—one outside of your normal experience—there are key things which need to occur first.
- Identification—sure I might think I “know” who I am, but really I am creating myself each day in the image I desire. Until I can identify that, and decide who and what I want to be, I cannot be truly successful. I will end up sabotaging myself.
- Acceptance—one of the more difficult parts of this journey is accepting new truths or perceptions. For some reason I believed that if I wasn’t the best at something, whatever I could offer didn’t count. That’s a difficult belief for me to shake, and requires awareness to combat those negative thoughts. This is an everyday thing for me, though it is a little bit easier now.
- Belief—I think this can happen in a variety of stages, but it’s a little different than acceptance. Once you can accept that you have something valuable to offer, you then have to believe you are capable of maintaining that value in order to truly believe in yourself. You can’t really yo-yo back and forth between acceptance and negativity, but still somehow believe in yourself. Acceptance for a day or a week isn’t a solid belief. If you can say to yourself, “I got this!” without any reservations…congratulations. I’m still working on that goal.
- Perseverance—pretty much self-explanatory here. You have to follow up your belief with action. You have to keep believing when you don’t see the results you wanted, expected, or perhaps any results at all.
Are you a snail? I’m a snail, and I’m okay with that. It just means that I’m taking time to get the most important parts settled so that I’ll be able to push forward continually, maintain value, and work slowly to achieve my goals. Planning is essential, but it doesn’t look impressive because there isn’t anything to show for it….yet.
If you’re struggling with a journey of your own, whether it is writing or something else, don’t pay attention to people who try to tell you to quit because they can’t see results. You keep right on planning and setting up all those things above, and you will get there eventually. In the meantime, those who rush ahead may find themselves having to take a few steps backward if they don’t race like a snail. Plus, snails get to enjoy more of the journey because they can take time to notice the world around them.
Yeah, I think I enjoy racing like a snail on this particular journey. Maybe that’s because I drive like Mario Andretti on the road…or so I’ve been told.